Controversial commentator Milo Yiannopoulos has come under criticism in the wake of the Maryland newsroom shooting.
It emerged that the former senior editor for Breitbart News, who has made a living out of making deliberately provocative remarks about women, people of colour and transgender people, had recently told two reporters that he "can't wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists".
He told The Observer's David Richardson that this is now his standard response to a request for comment.
He sent a similar message to Will Sommer, a reporter for the Daily Beast, news.com.au reported.
In the wake of the tragic shooting, people on social media have criticised the 33-year-old for his earlier remarks:
Yiannopoulos has addressed the connection to his remarks on Facebook, saying: "You're about to see a raft of news stories claiming that I am responsible for inspiring the deaths of journalists. The truth, as always, is the opposite of what the media tells you."
He continued: "I sent a troll about 'vigilante death squads' as a *private* response to a few hostile journalists who were asking me for comment, basically as a way of saying, 'F**k off.' They then published it.
"Amazed they were pretending to take my joke as a 'threat,' I reposted these stories on Instagram to mock them — and to make it clear that I wasn't being serious."
He went on to say: "I made a private, offhand troll to two hostile reporters, who breathlessly publicised it and like vermin their fellow journalists swarmed to remind the world how much they hate Milo. If the Left was truly horrified by violence against journalists, they would have shown it in the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo. As you all know, they didn't."
Yiannopoulos is known to have ties with US President Donald Trump, billionaire Robert Mercer and white supremacist Richard Spencer.
Police were called to the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, 50km east of Washington DC, on Thursday afternoon local time, after several people were shot dead.
The suspect in the shooting was reported as a white male in his 20s who was armed with a shotgun. His name or a motive is not yet known.
US President Donald Trump, who was in Wisconsin for the groundbreaking of a new electronics plant, tweeted that his "thoughts and prayers" are with the victims.